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Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort 3.5

Bagan, Myanmar

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Scenic location and beautiful grounds overlooking the Irrawaddy River
  • In Old Bagan's Archaeological Zone, walk to most main temples
  • Pleasant, modern rooms with air-conditioning and flat-screen TVs
  • Higher-category rooms have superb river views
  • Lovely swimming pool overlooks the river
  • Terrace Bar has amazing sunset views
  • Restaurant serves free breakfast buffet and has nighttime cultural shows
  • Property is home to ancient temples
  • Mountain bicycles for rent
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel

Cons

  • Plain Standard Rooms are far from main hotel facilities
  • No restaurants or shops within walking distance
  • Many rooms have a poor Wi-Fi signal

Bottom Line

On the scenic banks of the Irrawaddy River -- with killer sunset views -- the 127-room Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort is an upper-middle-range resort set amid Old Bagan's iconic temples. While some rooms are a bit removed from the hotel's main facilities, there are lovely garden and riverside bungalows and palatial suites as well. The resort has a large swimming pool overlooking the river, as well as a bar and restaurant. Other features include a cooking studio, an organic kitchen garden, mountain bike rentals, and free Wi-Fi, though the signal is spotty. Though many temples can be reached on foot, there are no dining options nearby. For something closer to restaurants, travelers might want to check out The Hotel at Tharabar Gate, though it lacks the scenic riverside location.

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Scene

Charming riverside resort on beautiful grounds with several ancient temples

Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort feels like a living museum, as several ancient temples sit right on the hotel's grounds. Guests pass one of them coming down the long driveway into the resort, which culminates with a distant view of the wide Irrawaddy River. A large circular fountain fronts the lobby building, which is built to resemble a temple and, as such, is painted gold. If you are lucky, a few horse and buggy carts might be out front, adding to the idyllic picture. 

The lobby itself is an open-air space with wooden floors, a slanted roof, hanging ceiling fans, and wicker seating. There are more couches out back on a wooden deck that faces the setting sun. It's tastefully done, if relatively simple, and the hotel's grounds might just be the star of the show, with huge 100-year-old acacia trees, tropical flowers and plants, and lots of open lawn space spread across 24 acres. The hotel mostly sees couples, as the setting is undeniably romantic, though small groups of friends and families pass through as well.

Location

Overlooking the Irrawaddy River, inside Old Bagan's Archaeological Zone

Map of Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort

Bagan Thiripyitsaya Sanctuary Resort is located in Old Bagan, right in the heart of the Archaeological Zone that holds all of the area's storied temples. Shwe San Daw Pagoda, the main sunrise temple, is just a five-minute drive up the road (or 20 minutes on foot for the ambitious), and many other famed sites are nearby. The resort sits down a long driveway and overlooks the Irrawaddy River and mountains behind it, ideally situated for gorgeous sunset views. It's a tranquil and picturesque location, but there aren't any restaurants, bars, or shops within walking distance of the resort. The nearest food stalls are a 10-minute bike ride from here, while more options can be found in Nyaung U, which takes 20 minutes to reach by car. The Nyaung-U Airport can be reached in about 20 minutes.

Rooms

Simple, modern rooms with hardwood details, some with balconies

The hotel's 127 rooms vary widely, and range from plain Standard Rooms to Deluxe Rooms housed in lovely bungalows to River View Suites, the most high-end option. Standard Rooms are set far from the main hotel, housed in an old building that lacks atmosphere. There are no views here, and although the rooms are spacious, they are utterly basic, with laminated wood floors, nearly bare white walls, and a few pieces of simple wooden furniture. The lovely bungalows housing Deluxe River View and Deluxe Garden View Rooms have fine wood floors, rattan furnishings, high ceilings, and pleasant terraces with loungers and views of the 100-year old acacia trees, garden, or river. 

Best of all are the River View Suites, where dignitaries like the Cambodian Prime Minister, or more recently, Bono, have stayed. These suites are housed in villas with large teak balconies overlooking the river. The swank interiors feature fine teak floors, brick walls, exquisite rattan furniture, fine art pieces, four-poster beds, stocked minibars, and free Wi-Fi. They are indeed elegant, but cost significantly more than Standard Rooms, making them an ideal choice for a honeymoon or special occasion. 

All rooms offer modern amenities including air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, safes, mini-fridges, and tea- and coffee-making facilities. Bathrooms range from small, simple units with showers in Standard Rooms to shower/tub combos in Deluxe Rooms and separate soaking tubs and showers in suites. Done in a mixture of granite and tile, they have spacious countertops, bathrobes, hairdryers, and a good selection of toiletries.

Features

Lovely swimming pool, restaurant and bar with sunset views, and on-site activities

Given it's sprawling grounds, it's no surprise that there are a solid handful of features here. The resort has a massive outdoor pool that overlooks the Irrawaddy River, and is surrounded by lawn space that's dotted with decorative giant cloth parasols, a signature product of the area. The pool may be the nicest feature here, but the Terrace Bar and Verandah Restaurant are also top draws. Both of them sport the same timber and rattan design scheme, with a sloped ceiling hung with fans that keep the tropical air moving. The restaurant serves up free buffet breakfasts, as well as Burmese and Western fare for lunch and dinner, though some guests complain that it's overpriced and the quality gets mixed reviews. The hotel puts on traditional puppet shows and cultural performances for guests at night, and the bar sets up chairs out on the deck at sunset.

Other features include a fleet of mountain bikes available for rent -- these are useful for getting around the sandy roads to see the temples, and for avoiding the expensive taxi fees or slow (but romantic) horse-and-buggies. The resort also has a cooking studio where classes are offered. All of the vegetables and spices in the restaurant kitchen come from the lovely organic garden that sits in a corner of the expansive property. Wi-Fi is free, but the signal is patchy to non-existent in rooms and best accessed in the lobby.

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Address

Bagan Archaeological Zone, Bagan, Mandalay Region, Myanmar

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